Friday, May 21, 2010
“She's dead? You're lying!” His shouts came from the living room.
“Son,” Grammy called out, “Don't trouble the doctor none.”
When they reached the room and Grammy sat her on the sofa, Ella looked at her father, who was cradling a bloodied hand as he paced in front of the fireplace, the hearth covered by shards of the green Depression glassware her mother once collected.
“Mama is resting in heaven,” she whispered, and was surprised when he stopped.
“And I am going to hell,” he said, with a look to the doctor.
He left the room, taking a bottle of whiskey with him.
While Grammy accompanied the doctor to the front hall, their voices low and their sentences too adult for Ella to decipher, she stood and walked to the window.
“There are no stars up there,” she said. “How can I make a wish tonight?”
Grammy returned and stared at her grandchild, her eyes wearied by age and fear and tears.
“You don't really need them for that, honey,” she said.
Ella shook her head. She knew her grandmother wanted her father to be sent away to the special hospital. Too many times now he did not remember that mama had been dead for months. Skull fracture from accidental fall, according to the coroner's report.
She could not forget because she saw her die.
That's why Grammy woke her, then. To say goodbye to Daddy.
Ella wiped her tears and walked to her grandmother.
“Maybe I'll see them tomorrow,” she said.
“Yes, child.” Grammy kissed the top of her head. “There's always tomorrow.”
However, no matter how many she wished upon, the stars would not alter the truth that it was Ella who had pushed her mother to her death.